Apep's Head


Round 4: Create a Golarion location

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RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8, Dedicated Voter Season 9 aka surfbored

Dark Sasha wrote:
Joel Flank wrote:
Jerry Keyes wrote:

John:

  • The head features are weathered but smooth without a spot of rust. So what does "weathered" mean then? I can't get a mental picture.
  • I had assumed this to mean errosion from wind and sand over the 8,000 years it sat there.
    I agree with Joel here. Weathered in this case means that the hard edges have been worn smooth by the action of wind and sand. If the metal is not of an iron based element, then it isn't rusted as rust is simply oxidized iron.

    Yeah, I'm not really saying it's wrong, I'm just saying I can't picture what is described. If it's worn smooth, how do I know it was ever not smooth. Is it discolored or splotchy? Is it pitted?

    As for the rust, the metal is described as "steel-like" and steel certainly rusts. But since we really don't know what the metal is, I'm okay with the lack of rust, I just need a better understanding of what to describe to my players since there isn't any boxed text for the outside.

    RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8 aka John Benbo

    And we're done! Just want to say thank you to everyone who voted for Apep's Head. And thank you to everyone who took the time to comment and offer your insights. Being dead last in the exit polls, I was surprised by how many comments I got. So that means, whether good or bad, I got you to think about my design enough to comment. I appreciate it. I'll post later tonight the design process I went through and lessons learned which I hope will be valuable to future contestations.

    I do take consolation that the cartographers seemed to get a kick out my map. I was a little worried as I've never drawn up a map for anyone besides myself. I would love to see what those guys would do with it!

    RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8 aka John Benbo

    This breakdown is divided into two sections- my thought process on design and why I think it failed with the judges.

    Apep’s Head germinated from a couple of other ideas, one originally a giant’s skull and the second some sort of hanging gardens. I went with the robot head because I chose Voracek as my villain. I was surprised he didn’t move onto the next round as I thought he was still very solid even with his short fluff section.

    So, where to put Apep’s Head? Numeria was the obvious choice but I didn’t put it there for a couple of reasons. One, I wanted it to be a hanging garden, which I see more as ancient Egyptian/Babylonian. Numeria reads to me much like Cimmeria in the Conan stories, but with robots. So I narrowed the location down to Garund. I didn’t want a desert because I wanted wild vegetation to have grown inside the Head. The Mwangi Expanse, I thought was too far south. Then I saw the Eternal Oasis in Rahadoum. When Apep walked Golarion, Rahadoum was part of the old Osirion Empire. This also provided me with the second reason to put Apep’s Head there. Osirion was once a mighty empire, having reached its height 8000 years ago. I thought it would make more sense for Apep to go after the mos advanced civilization at the time, instead of blasting sheep in some dark age village.

    So I established where it was and what it was. Now, the actual location. What I had disliked after reading last year’s RPG Superstar location entries, were a lot of them were big locations with one tiny, “Boo, monster” encounter. This was strictly personal preference on my part, so I wanted to design a location and encounter that you could simply cut and paste from my contest entry and run without any additional work. I was also influenced by these old Star Wars playset heads I found in my closet (thought they would be worth money back in the day and they aren’t). For example, I have a Boba Fett head that opens up and is a Cloud City playset. I designed my location and encounter around that idea. I wanted things the PCs could play with like laser turrets and swinging from vines to make the encounter more interactive, dynamic, and memorable.

    The actual encounter, I wanted to do something different. I liked the idea of adding some environmental hazards, ala the bandit attack in the rain in Kurosawa’s 7 Samurai. I also liked the idea of it not just being a drag out brawl until one side was dead. I wanted to give Voracek a purpose for being there. In this encounter, he’s not trying to directly engage the PCs. It’s a race to see if the PCs can stop him. I liked how the thunderbird was kind of hidden in the first TIER but more active in the second.

    So looking back on what I just wrote, I still think it’s all really cool, but the judges didn’t at all. Did they just not “get it?” No, I was the one who didn’t get it. I think I made a really cool John Bennett encounter with a map, not a cool Golarion encounter with a map. I pushed through my creative ideas about what I wanted to see. For example, I like having a random chance that the vine is an assassin’s vine. In my home game, that’s fine. But you don’t see that in Paizo products, it’s not their schtick. I really pushed the boundaries of Golarion canon. Honestly, I picked Apep after a quick Google search of the word “destroyer” not realizing he was a god there as I’m only familiar with the major ones. But, placing him in Rahadoum, ended up being a huge mistake to the judges on my part. They are the ones who’ve created the world; they know what goes where and what doesn’t. It’s like I went into their house and rearranged all the furniture the way I saw best.

    The judges wanted to see a bigger location. As developers, you get more bang for your buck and more places for the PCs to explore which is what most PCs do. The lasers were a real risk. I didn't have much to go on so it was a gamble but didn't pay off well. Finally, my encounter was a little different and I knew it would be a risk with the sudden ambush.

    So, in the end, it wasn’t that the judges just didn’t get this entry. It was that I didn’t get the assignment. They wanted to see a Paizo entry, I gave them a John Bennett entry. The lesson I learned is that if you are going to write for someone, especially for someone’s already established game world, you need to make sure your writing fits in with their vision and style. This might seem obvious, but in the heat of competition or a deadline, it's easy to lose sight of. Paizo has spent years developing Golarion and Pathfinder. There’s a certain framework there that has been established. Not that you can’t be creative, but just realize this isn’t your homebrew Golarion.

    Now, that being said, the encounter round was the one I was most looking forward too. And even though my entry was not well received by the judges (though I got props from the cartographers), it was the one I had the most fun doing. I think with a second draft it could be salvageable . I liked Joel's idea about making it some sort of golem I could tie better into Apep (or just change its name). Engineerauthorman had a good idea to address the issue of the 360 degree lasers and I would need to address the range. It could have been worse, I could have named Apep "The Doom of Rahadoum." One last piece of advice, make sure you do your research!

    One last thing- I thought for sure I would get a Mega Maid reference. It wasn't what I was going for, but in my mind, I kept picturing Mega Maid.


    Whatever happens later today, I think you are the most deserving candidate this year. You are the one bringing more new elements, more awesomeness and more weirdness to the game. Whatever happens keep walking.

    RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8 aka John Benbo

    CC. wrote:
    Whatever happens later today, I think you are the most deserving candidate this year. You are the one bringing more new elements, more awesomeness and more weirdness to the game. Whatever happens keep walking.

    Thanks, CC. I appreciate that. I got a few ideas up my sleeve...


    Disclaimer:
    Ask A RPGSupsersuccubus is posting from the point of view of a CE aligned (very advanced) succubus. She's right out of sympathies at present, and in any case gi-normous siege towers tend to leave rather unpleasant wheel marks on the lawn which it takes ages for the grass to grow back in (even Abyssal snoozlegrass, which is really saying something). (Please see the thread of someone who went out in Round 2 or 3 if you don't get the siege tower comment.)
    Plus please take as read all the usual disclaimer stuff about gossiping salaciously over a cup of tea and plate of yummy buttered crumpets away from the boards and generally other Chaotic and Evil stuff, kept (barely) in check for now because of Good Manners.

    Dear John Bennet,
    Congratulations on making the Top 8 of RPGSuperstar 2011. At this point, however, your journey has come to an abrupt (and perhaps for you unpleasant) end.
    So where did it all go wrong? I don't know if you're understanding the situation correctly from your point of view, but from my point of view I think you under-did the garden. Perhaps you don't have gardens in whatever backwater of a world which you live in, but I know that if I leave one of mine untended for six months 'rampant', 'dangerous', and 'distinctly unkempt' are all adjectives which could be applied. You presented a garden which had been apparently left untended for several millennia (in the vicinity of a powerful other-worldly crystal with possible long-term environmental warping effects if its containment apparatus had in the meantime fractured), but where all that any visitors had to worry about was an occasional assassin vine??? So where was the gardener who had been maintaining the place - or the rest of the vegetation if it had been truly untended? You could have presented a situation for a three way fight, as plants or gardener struggled to prevent any intruders from walking off with the crystal or otherwise wreaking havoc...
    Obviously, if Paizo retain the current format of the contest, this was your last presentation. Maybe they'll invite you back as a judge in some future year, or to write for Pathfinder Society.
    In the interest of Good Manners, and finishing on an Upbeat Note, you did at least present us with a moderately effective flower-picker in the shape of the saboteur back in Round 2. :D
    Trusting that you have found these posts Helpful.

    Yours,

    Ask A RPGSupersuccubus.

    RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8 aka John Benbo

    Ask A RPGSupersuccubus wrote:

    Disclaimer:

    Ask A RPGSupsersuccubus is posting from the point of view of a CE aligned (very advanced) succubus. She's right out of sympathies at present, and in any case gi-normous siege towers tend to leave rather unpleasant wheel marks on the lawn which it takes ages for the grass to grow back in (even Abyssal snoozlegrass, which is really saying something). (Please see the thread of someone who went out in Round 2 or 3 if you don't get the siege tower comment.)
    Plus please take as read all the usual disclaimer stuff about gossiping salaciously over a cup of tea and plate of yummy buttered crumpets away from the boards and generally other Chaotic and Evil stuff, kept (barely) in check for now because of Good Manners.
    Dear John Bennet,
    Congratulations on making the Top 8 of RPGSuperstar 2011. At this point, however, your journey has come to an abrupt (and perhaps for you unpleasant) end.
    So where did it all go wrong? I don't know if you're understanding the situation correctly from your point of view, but from my point of view I think you under-did the garden. Perhaps you don't have gardens in whatever backwater of a world which you live in, but I know that if I leave one of mine untended for six months 'rampant', 'dangerous', and 'distinctly unkempt' are all adjectives which could be applied. You presented a garden which had been apparently left untended for several millennia (in the vicinity of a powerful other-worldly crystal with possible long-term environmental warping effects if its containment apparatus had in the meantime fractured), but where all that any visitors had to worry about was an occasional assassin vine??? So where was the gardener who had been maintaining the place - or the rest of the vegetation if it had been truly untended? You could have presented a situation for a three way fight, as plants or gardener struggled to prevent any intruders from walking off with the crystal or otherwise wreaking havoc...
    Obviously, if Paizo retain the...

    Thanks RPG Succubus. And don't cry a tear of blood for me. Voracek's "crystal" was really just the car battery running the whole thing. I think I should have put a shark tank in the floor with robot sharks that could shoot laser beams from their mouths.


    FWIW, I was one of those who did vote for you based on your encounter. If these tricks up your sleeve include more settings giving that sci-fi meets fantasy evocatives, I want to be aware of them when they're available. I would definitely be interested. :)

    RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8 aka John Benbo

    Urizen wrote:
    FWIW, I was one of those who did vote for you based on your encounter. If these tricks up your sleeve include more settings giving that sci-fi meets fantasy evocatives, I want to be aware of them when they're available. I would definitely be interested. :)

    Could be :).

    And thanks for the vote!

    Shadow Lodge Star Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 9

    John Bennett wrote:
    Urizen wrote:
    FWIW, I was one of those who did vote for you based on your encounter. If these tricks up your sleeve include more settings giving that sci-fi meets fantasy evocatives, I want to be aware of them when they're available. I would definitely be interested. :)

    Could be :).

    And thanks for the vote!

    I came back and saw you did not advance. While this did not get my vote, you did get my vote in every previous round. While you did not win you did win one thing, a fan. Good luck in the future and I hope to see your name in print soon.

    RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8 aka John Benbo

    Kerney wrote:
    John Bennett wrote:
    Urizen wrote:
    FWIW, I was one of those who did vote for you based on your encounter. If these tricks up your sleeve include more settings giving that sci-fi meets fantasy evocatives, I want to be aware of them when they're available. I would definitely be interested. :)

    Could be :).

    And thanks for the vote!

    I came back and saw you did not advance. While this did not get my vote, you did get my vote in every previous round. While you did not win you did win one thing, a fan. Good luck in the future and I hope to see your name in print soon.

    Thanks, I appreciate it. I'll do my best to get my name in print!

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